Author: TCAIS

11 Apr

Floyd: Statewide texting-while-driving ban will save lives

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By Beaman Floyd
Published in the Houston Chronicle

April 10, 2017



Floyd: Statewide texting-while-driving ban will save lives

Not a day goes by that I don’t see multiple people texting behind the wheel as I drive around Austin. Though a city ordinance requires “hands free” operation of electronic hand-held devices while operating a vehicle, many still choose to continue to endanger themselves and others.

Drivers who text while driving are six times more likely to get into an accident. Numerous studies have found that distracted driving is dangerous and deadly, and the 46 states with statewide texting while driving bans have seen a decline in that behavior. Texas is one of the four states without a statewide prohibition, although more than 90 cities have adopted some sort of cell phone use ordinance.

Though city ordinances help, they are not, by themselves, the answer.

Texas must pass a statewide texting while driving ban to bring consistency and cultural change to our state. We cannot expect all Texans to make a conscious decision to put their phones down when we’re sending mixed messages by not having a ban. That April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month only brings the need more sharply into focus.

Fortunately, we are making progress in the current legislative session. Texas lawmakers must continue to move a statewide texting while driving ban through the legislative process to finally become law. This is the fifth session – it must be the last. Children who will forever be in wheelchairs and grieving Texans clutching pictures of loved ones who were victims of distracted drivers should not have to visit the Capitol one more time to make heart-wrenching, tearful pleas to lawmakers.

Their persistence – and mounting evidence and fatalities – appear to be having an impact. Several legislators and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who previously opposed texting legislation, have indicated they’re now supportive of the bills.

Statewide laws and penalties are the fastest ways to change the culture to make texting while driving an unacceptable behavior. We saw the same thing with the passage of seatbelt laws. That changed a culture, and today buckling up has become the norm. In fact, more than four in five drivers say they never drive without a seatbelt, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research.

 

Auto insurance companies, cell phone providers, car companies and safety advocates are doing their part by conducting campaigns to educate consumers about the dangers of all forms of distracted driving, including texting.

We all know that distracted driving, and in particular texting, is dangerous; 81.1 percent of those surveyed by AAA called texting/emailing while driving a “very serious threat to safety,” while 78.2 percent said it is “completely unacceptable.”

But we keep doing it. The same survey found that, despite knowing better, 40.2 percent of drivers admitted reading a text or email while driving in the past 30 days, while nearly a third typed one.

Why do we keep doing it? We think, “It won’t happen to us.” We need to stay in touch. We’re looking for information. Habit.

Tragically, just before the start of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a horrific crash near Uvalde took the lives of 13 Texans. While the wreck is under investigation, media reported that the driver told witnesses he was texting at the time of the crash.

No text is worth 13 lives, or even one life.

Perhaps before this month ends, Texas lawmakers will pass a statewide texting while driving law. Instead of the current mixed message, Texas drivers would know that texting behind the wheel won’t be tolerated on any road in our state. And our past experience shows that consistency is what will put us on the road to the cultural change needed to save lives.

Beaman Floyd is executive director of Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (www.tcais.org), an alliance of insurance providers including Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, State Farm and USAA.

04 Apr

TCAIS PRAISES COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HAILSTORM CLAIMS REFORM (HB 1774)

TCAIS Hot News, Press Releases 0 Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Kirsten Voinis, (512) 922-7141 or [email protected]                                                               

TCAIS PRAISES COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HAILSTORM CLAIMS REFORM (HB 1774)

The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions – representing the major home and auto insurance companies doing business in Texas – thanked members of the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday for passing House Bill 1774, which provides common sense reforms to curb hailstorm claims litigation which is harming both consumers and the insurance marketplace.

The following statement can be attributed to TCAIS Executive Director Beaman Floyd:

“Texans are suffering not just from the massive hailstorms that strike Texas, but their aftermath.

House Insurance Committee passage of House Bill 1774 is the first step to rein in out-of-control hailstorm insurance claim lawsuits that enrich a few individuals while threatening the availability and affordability of property insurance coverage for all Texans. HB 1774 ends abusive practices while providing continued consumer protections.”

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The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (TCAIS) is an alliance of insurance providers and trade organizations committed to working with elected officials, the media and the public to find public policy solutions that promote a competitive insurance marketplace that maximizes benefits for buyers and sellers of insurance. TCAIS members include Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, State Farm and USAA. You can find TCAIS at www.tcais.org or follow TCAIS on Facebook (/tcais) or Twitter (@tcais).

15 Mar

TCAIS APPLAUDS TEXAS HOUSE APPROVAL OF TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BAN

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CONTACT:
Kirsten Voinis, (512) 922-7141 or [email protected]                                                               

TCAIS APPLAUDS TEXAS HOUSE APPROVAL OF TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BAN
HB 62 earns initial House passage

The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions – representing the major auto insurance companies doing business in Texas – continues this legislative session to support House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31, bills that enact a statewide prohibition on texting while driving.

On Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives initially approved House Bill 62 by State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland.

The following statement can be attributed to TCAIS Executive Director Beaman Floyd:

“The Texas Coalition of Affordable Insurance Solutions and our auto insurance members applaud the swift road that it appears a statewide ban on texting while behind the wheel is taking through the legislative process. We hope that 2017 finally will be the session that the Texas Legislature outlaws one form of distracted driving that has injured and killed too many Texans in the years since such legislation was first introduced.”

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The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (TCAIS) is an alliance of insurance providers and trade organizations committed to working with elected officials, the media and the public to find public policy solutions that promote a competitive insurance marketplace that maximizes benefits for buyers and sellers of insurance. TCAIS members include Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, State Farm and USAA. You can find TCAIS at www.tcais.org or follow TCAIS on Facebook (/tcais) or Twitter (@tcais).

09 Mar

TCAIS SUPPORTS HB 62 – STATEWIDE TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BAN

TCAIS Hot News, Press Releases 0 Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               

CONTACT: Kirsten Voinis, (512) 922-7141 or [email protected]                                                               

TCAIS SUPPORTS HB 62 – STATEWIDE TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BAN
TCAIS director testifies Thursday in House Transportation Committee

The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions – representing the major auto insurance companies doing business in Texas – continues this legislative session to support bills that aim to curb distracted driving. On Thursday, TCAIS testified in the House Transportation Committee in support of House Bill 62 by State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, a statewide prohibition on texting while driving.

The following statement can be attributed to TCAIS Executive Director Beaman Floyd:

“Since the Texas Legislature first debated a statewide texting while driving ban almost 10 years ago, too many Texans have died or been injured on the state’s roadways by a driver who was texting while behind the wheel. And just as there have been more victims during that time, more studies have conclusively proved that texting is a severe distraction that leads to injuries and loss of life.”

“TCAIS’ member companies continue to conduct campaigns to educate consumers about the dangers of all forms of distracted driving, including texting. But we also continue to believe that the fastest way to change a dangerous practice by passing a law against it.”

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The Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions (TCAIS) is an alliance of insurance providers and trade organizations committed to working with elected officials, the media and the public to find public policy solutions that promote a competitive insurance marketplace that maximizes benefits for buyers and sellers of insurance. TCAIS members include Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, State Farm and USAA. You can find TCAIS at www.tcais.org or follow TCAIS on Facebook (/tcais) or Twitter (@tcais).